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Trade Credit, Markups, and Relationships
Trade credit is the most important form of short-term finance for firms. In 2019, U.S. non-financial firms had about $4.5 trillion in trade credit outstanding equaling 21 percent of U.S. GDP. This paper documents two striking facts about trade credit use. First, firms with higher markups supply more trade credit. Second, trade credit use increases in relationship length, as firms often switch from cash in advance to trade credit but rarely away from trade credit. These two facts can be rationalized in a model where firms learn about their trading partners, sellers charge markups over ...